THE QATAR-INDONESIA 2023 Year of Culture collaboration program was held to strengthen people-to-people relations while supporting each other in the promotion of culture and the growing creative sector in both countries.

“The Year of Culture series of activities shows that the cultural approach is a means to strengthen understanding between nations and maintain harmony between countries,” said Expert Staff to the Minister of Education, Culture, Research and Technology for Institutional and Community Relations Muhammad Adlin Sila in a press release received in Jakarta, Monday (03/13), 2023.

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Research and Technology; the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in Doha, and the Qatar government through the Qatar Museum organized the Qatar-Indonesia 2023 Year of Culture program. The opening ceremony was held at the Museum of Islamic Arts in Qatar, Sunday (02/12).

Started in 2012, Qatar Museum under the leadership of Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, developed the annual “Year of Culture” initiative, a cultural diplomacy platform that celebrates cultural diversity and deepens mutual understanding between Qatar and other countries.

Qatar-Indonesia Year of Culture has started with the participation of five professional pugilists from Indonesia at the Qatar National Sports Day event in Doha on February 14-15, 2023. The Qatari public, especially sports lovers, were said to be very enthusiastic to witness firsthand and take part in a short workshop on the traditional Indonesian martial art which has been included in the UNESCO intangible cultural heritage list.

The opening ceremony on Sunday (12/3) officially marked the Year of Culture, which was held for a whole year. Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, who was present at the event, said that the Qatar-Indonesia Year of Culture is an opportunity for the two countries to appreciate each other, including the role in the Islamic world, and other things that unite the two countries in diversity.

“We are ready to celebrate a year full of cultural exchanges,” Sheikha said.

Meanwhile, Indonesian Ambassador to Qatar Ridwan Hassan said that today the world needs multilateral cooperation more than ever, which can be started by empowering people who are around to interact, learn, and collaborate with each other.

“Indonesia welcomes the opportunity to celebrate our strong partnership with Qatar through the Qatar-Indonesia Year of Culture 2023,” Ridwan said.

At the event, Indonesia featured Sasando music performance from East Nusa Tenggara by Ganzer Lana and Ratoe Jaro Dance performed by the Indonesian diaspora community in Qatar.

The next event will be the opening of the Southeast Asia Gallery at the Museum of Islamic Arts, which presents a collection on the connections between the Middle East and Southeast Asia, especially Indonesia in terms of Islamic history and traditions.

The momentum of Ramadan will be an opportunity to showcase the culinary richness and diversity of both countries. Chefs from Indonesia will collaborate with chefs from Qatar to serve a variety of special menus that are the tradition of the people of both countries in breaking the fast.

The event will be open to the public, both in Doha and Jakarta. Indonesia is also present at the Qatar International Food Festival in Doha which has started since March 11, 2023 and ends on March 21.

The Qatar-Indonesia Year of Culture program will also feature a musical theater performance titled “HAYATI (Tree of Life): Searching for The Essence of Love” in Doha. Through the performance, Indonesia wants to introduce a story that carries tradition and romance rooted in the story of Panji.

Not only that, Indonesia and Qatar will also conduct artist residency programs in Doha, Sumba, and Tasikmalaya. The residency in Doha will focus on visual arts, while the residency in Tasikmalaya will be a venue for the two countries to collaborate in embroidery fashion.

The results of the residency in Tasikmalaya will be displayed at Jakarta Fashion Week 2023. Meanwhile, the residency in Sumba will specifically address the creativity of metal jewelry making.

The work of the residency participants in Sumba will be exhibited at Indonesian Contemporary Art and Design (ICAD). Qatar and Indonesia also have a travel photography activity in the form of a photographer exchange which has been an important part of the Year of Culture since 2012.

A team of photographers from Qatar and Indonesia will travel together to various places in both countries to capture interesting events and stories about intangible cultural heritage passed down from the ancestors and continues to be preserved today. The results of their lens captures will then be showcased to the public.

Other cultural activities that will be part of the Qatar-Indonesia Year of Culture include contemporary art exhibitions coinciding with ARTJOG, Ubud Writers and Readers Festival, Indonesian Festival in Doha, Qatar film screenings in Indonesia and Indonesian film screenings in Qatar.

In addition, there will also be a series of other supporting activities whose schedules and locations will be announced through the Year of Culture website and social media, @YearsofCulture. [sources/photo special]